Dialers - a definition

Dialers are small computer programs designed to establish a connection to the Internet or other network over a telephone line. Virtually every operating system has such a program as a part of the Internet connection tools. However, dialers are also used as a part of many Internet scams - illegitimate dialers are often used to redirect the unwary users to a premium-rated number.

Generally, all dialers that are not built in to your system should be considered dangerous and removed immediately, or even better - not installed in the first place.

Dialers and frauds

While some legitimate web services (usually for XXX adult websites) use premium-rated dialers as a form of payment for their services, most of the time, dialers are used for fraudulent purposes.

Specially prepared web pages offer installation of, for example, freeware utilities that increase the system's security. In fact, those "utilities" silently install a premium-rated dialer and change the system settings to use it as the only Internet connection. This fraud usually lasts until the next billing or even longer if we do not understand what has happened.

Some years ago, dialers were one of the most grievous threats to Internet security. However, with the coming of DSL and broadband Internet connections where the entered phone number is completely ignored, dialers have became relatively uncommon. However, everyone who is still relying on a phone modem to connect to the Internet should remain cautious.

How to protect your system from dialers

If you want to stay clear of dialers, you should:

*use anti-spyware software such as STOPzilla or Spy Sweeper - they are able to detect and remove all unsolicited dialers,

*keep your system up to date - Dialers use often security exploits in your  system or even in your web browser of choice to install themselves,

*do not open unknown attachments from emails and do not follow any links from spam-emails - it is another way to lure you to malware-injecting websites,

*cancel immediately any automatic downloads when you visit unknown websites,

*check your connection settings as often as possible. If you can remember to, it is best to check it each time before attempting to connect,

*think before you click!

And of course, the easiest solution of all is to upgrade your internet connection to a high speed, non-dial up option like DSL or Cable. Not only will you be connected at all times, you won't have to rely on a dialer at all. Granted, a DSL or Cable line isn't in everyone's budget and by having a computer that is connected to the Internet at all times, it opens up a whole new list of potential problems, but one sure way to solve this one is to upgrade.

Dialers are quickly becoming an Internet menace of the past but before they are wiped out completely, they are still looking to infect thousands of unsuspecting people who might be venturing onto the internet for the very first time. Don't let yourself be a victim, upgrade your connection today.

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